Two Fights Set For Jewels: "Twelfth Ring" On March 11thTwo fights have been announced for Jewels: “Twelfth Ring” on March 11th in Tokyo, Japan. Promotional postergirl Mika “Future Princess” Nagano faces Emi Murata, while Miyoko Kusaka squares off with Yuka Okumura. Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki will compete as well.

It was also confirmed that another top Jewels star, Shizuka Sugiyama, will be taking a year away from the promotion to study abroad in Australia. The popular Sugiyama most recently faced a larger opponent, Esui, at Jewels: “Eleventh Ring” in December, but suffered a second-round TKO defeat.

Nagano (7-4-0) reigned undefeated in 2009 with four straight wins, and she carried the momentum into 2010 with a fifth victory in March. However, Nagano was upset by Celine Haga at Jewels: “Eighth Ring” in a loss that reduced Nagano to tears even before the final bell. She battled back strong and defeated Haga in a July rematch as part of the opening round of the Jewels Lightweight Queen Tournament, but dropped a razor-thin decision to Seo Hee Ham in the tournament semi-finals in December.

Murata (2-1-0) won her pro debut in quick fashion last July over the winless Harumi, then entered the 56kg bracket of the 2010 Jewels Rough Stone Grand Prix. She was upset in the tournament’s opening round by 16-year-old prodigy Mizuki Inoue, but earned an impressive submission win over Anna Saito in December. Both of Murata’s victories have come in fewer than 75 seconds and she is a quick starter. An aggressive start may be enough to score an upset over Nagano, but Murata will give up a significant amount of experience.


Kusaka (2-2-0) bounced back after losing her pro debut in late 2009 when she defeated eventual 2010 Jewels 48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Champion Kikuyo Ishikawa early last year. Kusaka suffered a shocking upset loss in the opening round of the Rough Stone tournament, however, when she was submitted by journeywoman Yukiko Seki. Most recently, Kusaka earned her second professional victory when she defeated Asami Higa via scarf hold armlock in December.

Okumura (1-6-0) will make her return to mixed martial arts after three and a half years away. Her poor record belies the fact that some of her past opponents have been elite competitors, including ex-DEEP champ Satoko Shinashi and current Valkyrie Flyweight Champion Yasuko Tamada, but Okumura will certainly enter the fight with Kusaka as an underdog. Okumura’s lone victory to date came in a July 2007 bout with Anna Saito, who has also struggled in recent fights.


Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (4-0-0), a top protégé of female star Megumi Fujii, will also compete on the “Twelfth Ring” card. Hamasaki will face an opponent from North America in what will likely be a non-title bout. Hamasaki’s opponent will be announced soon.

Jewels: “Twelfth Ring” takes place on March 11th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.



(Photo Credit: Jewels)